Stuff made for Christmas 2005.

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
‘Cuz the Old Fool was soused.
The tools were scattered around the shop with great care,
In hopes that by some miracle, finished presents would come there.
“Measure twice and cut once”, the battle-cry it was heard,
But that only works if the design ain’t absurd.
And then from the basement there arose such a clatter,
That The Wife ran downstairs to see what was the matter.
And what to her wondering eyes did appear,
But a disgruntled old fool, his eyes glazed with fear.
For the work it was slow, and blades they kept breaking,
And in his workings mistakes he kept making.
So he called it quits for the night, and in passing he said,
“Enough of this!  I need a drink, and then me off to bed”.

This Christmas marked a couple of “firsts” for me.  I finished on December 22, the earliest I’ve been done in many years.  And most of the presents were made with thick (1 – 1-1/4 inches)  hardwoods of various types — African mahogany, yellowheart (also known as pao amarillo), lacewood, and gray ash.   Each of these woods is denser than oak, and just as tough or tougher.  This makes selecting the proper scrollsaw blade a prime consideration — something I found out the hard way.   But everything got done on time, and that’s the main thing!

Oh, the segmented items are a sort of high-end jigsaw puzzle, and were given to the recipients unassembled and they weren’t told what the item was.  The screams of “what do you mean I have to assemble it before I know what it is!” were a pure joy to listen to.

The only negative that I can think of is that I didn’t do any puzzle boxes this year, something that I rather like to do.  However, things turned out pretty well none the less.  And I finished a couple of days early, which gave me time to sit back and enjoy the season.

The dated ornament for this year. It’s about 4-inches wide, and is made out of 1/8-inch baltic birch plywood, with a natural oil finish.

This intarsia scene was done for my wife. It’s about 13-inches high, and 8-inches wide. The jaguar is made out of a hardwood called “yellowheart” (also called “pau amarillo”) from Brazil, and it is 1-1/8 inch thick.  The branches are made from 1/2-inch cedar.   The frame is pine that is stained a dark walnut.  The backing is simply a piece of plywood painted black.  The overall finish is Danish oil.  It really does have a lovely 3D sort of effect that doesn’t show up to well in a photograph.

This is a fretwork spotted jaguar made out of 1-1/8 inch yellowheart.  The dimensions sare about 10×8 inches.  Yellowheart is a lovely hardwood that is denser than oak, and is quite tough.  I broke 5 or 6 drill bits drilling the pilot holes, and went through a couple dozen scrollsaw blades!    However, there is a bit of a trick to using this wood (ie. let the drill cool between holes, and use the proper scrollsaw blade), and my next project (the “siesta” scene above) went somewhat easier.  Somewhat — it is still a tough wood to use.  But the results are worth it!

Here is a wolf mask, done in the style of the Haida Indians.  It is made out of African mahogany (about 1-1/4 inch thick), and finished with Danish oil.  The actual size is about 5 x 10 inches.

This clock pattern is made out of an African hardwood called sapele (about 1-inch thick).  As you can see, it finishes to a lovely, rich brownish-rouge.   The clock itself is 2-3/4 inches in diameter.

This lovely fretwork pattern is made out of African mahogany (about 1-1/4 inch thick), and finished with Danish oil.  It is about 8×5 inches in size.

This frework fairy stands about 7 inches high, and is  made out of lacewood (about 1-1/4 inch thick).   The large highlights you see in the wood are the actual grain of the wood!

“The Buck Stops Here”

Ok, so I like puns.  And visual puns like this demand to be made.  The “here” is made out of  Aftican mahogany, the deer is made out of oak, and the sign is plywood.

Here’s a pair of segmented gargoyles, made out of African mahogany (left) and gray ash (right), each about 1-1/4 inch thick, and finished with Danish oil.   They stand about 5 inches high.

This is a segmented griffon made out of 1-1/8 inch sapele.  It stands about 7 inches high.

This is a small-ish dragon (about 4-inches long) made out of 1-1/8 inch lacewood.

A segmented baby dragon done in African mahogany.

Another baby dragon.

Yet another segmented baby dragon done in African mahogany.

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